Jailed Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab investigated over newspaper letter
The jailed activist is currently facing 15 years behind bars for Twitter posts criticising Saudi Arabia's intervention in Yemen and allegations of torture in Bahraini prisons.
The letter in Rajab's name appeared on Tuesday in French newspaper Le Monde. In it, Rajab asks France and Germany to "be ready to face the monarchies of the Arabian-Persian Gulf" as they "claim to be allies in the battle against extremism while fuelling the crisis".
"I am writing from a prison in Bahrain where I expect to be tried for criticising the bombing of Yemen by Saudi Arabia and for revealing the torture committed in the prisons of my country," he wrote.
"For that I risk 15 years in prison. My trial is not exceptional, it is ordinary. Thousands of Bahrainis are in prison for expressing criticism and protesting against the government."
Bahrain's Interior Ministry said on Thursday it was investigating Rajab over the letter which it said contained "false rumours and tendentious news that represented an abuse of the Kingdom of Bahrain" and other Gulf countries.
The ministry also said Rajab denied writing to the newspaper, an assertion challenged by rights groups supporting the activist.
|My trial is not exceptional, it is ordinary. Thousands of Bahrainis are in prison for expressing criticism and protesting against the government
"Nabeel Rajab's recent letters remind us of Martin Luther King Jr's 'Letter from a Birmingham Jail'," said Husain Abdulla, executive director of Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, referring to the US civil rights icon's message on nonviolent protest.
"Like King, Nabeel is a true champion of human rights."
Rajab's incarceration for allegedly posting tweets "criticising" the government and "insulting" Saudi Arabia comes amid an intense crackdown on dissent by the Sunni rulers of Bahrain, a predominantly Shia island off Saudi Arabia plagued by unrest since the 2011 Arab Spring protests.
The probe is the second such investigation into his writings in recent months after an article appeared in the New York Times in September for which he faces a further charge of "undermining the prestige of a state".
The chief director of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights was due to hear the verdict last Thursday but the 51-year-old will now remain detained until 28 December, the fifth time a court hearing has been postponed.